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Imperial Astral Force

Growing up on Ivanov Mir, I watched a lot of action holos. Federation hotshots dodged bright purple blaster bolts and destroyed Imperial battleships in massive fireballs. It turned out nothing cpuld be further from the truth.   My first encounter with an Imperial battleship was while serving as a covert advisor to the Alizi at the Battle of Star's End. The Alizi freedom fighters had gotten intel that an important resupply convoy would pass through the system on the way to the Ardent, amd I had helped them plan a simple hit and run strike with a couple dozen corvettes and five destroyers. The force should have been sufficient to eliminate all escorts and capture the supplies without losses, but it turned out to be a trap.   The convoy arived as expected, and the Alizi forces moved in to engage. The first hint that something was amiss was when the convoy made a run for the J-class gas giant in the system despite being obviously slower than their pursuers. The Alizi took the bait.   Not five minutes into the pursuit, the Ardent's forward escort screen jumped into the system five light-seconds from where the convoy had first appeared - now behind the Alizi. Twelve seconds later, thr Ardent and her remaining seven escort ships arrived.   Immediately, one destroyer iridesced bright orange and began to break apart. No visible beams. No sign of which ship fired. No fireball, but everyone on board was dead or dying of accute radiation syndrome. P-beams are like that.   Then the alarms blared and the sensors registered hundreds of blips. The Ardent had fired a salvo of missiles. She was also beginning to glow brighter in IR, but the missiles were a greater concern. Our destroyers launched countermeasures and decoys while the corvettes scrambled to evade the barrage, but three corvettes were hit. wreckage silently sprayed everywhere. And then one missile penetrated a destroyer's point defense.   It didn't actually hit the destroyer. It didn't need to. There was a blinding flash from that direction, like glancing at the sun. Then the side of the ship facing us was glowing white and disintegrating. The nuclear warhead alao clipped a nearby destroyer, but its armor looked lile it saves her structure. There was no telling how much radiation had penetrated to the crew, though.   By this time, the convoy's escorts had formed a defensive wall and were beginning to fire on the Alizi, but the next kill belonged to the Ardent. She fired her main battery and sliced the bridge off our third destroyer with a beam of coherent x-rays.   By now, our forces were in disarray, and we hadn't even scratched the Solarans. They hailed us and demanded our unconditional surrender.
  The Imperial Astral Force is the Imperial armed force charged if waging war in space and one of the four Imperial Armed Forces. It is the second largest in the galaxy by battlefleet tonnage and larger than the next seven astral forces combined, five of which are allies. With 785,254,000 active duty personnel and another 262,165,000 ready reservists, it is the second largest armed force by personnel. It has some 37,170 combat vessels and 438,690 support ships.  

Mission

To recruit, train, equip, organize, and deliver combat-ready forces for the victorious prosecution of war in orbital, interplanetary, and interstellar space while deterring agression through a sustained forward presence.
--Mission Statement of the Imperial Astral Force
  The Imperial Astral Force is the spaceborne branch of the Imperial Armed Forced. Its three areas of responsibility are:
  • The preparation of astral forces for the [effective prosecution of war].
  • The maintenance of aerospace aviation, land-based aerospace aviation, and aerospace transportation of essential equipment for space operations, and all aerospace weapons and tactics employed in the operation and activities of the Astral Force.
  • The development of all aerospace craft, weapons, tactics, techniques, organization, and equipment of space combat and service elements.
  The Astral Force's five enduring functions are space control, power projection, deterrence, space security, and Starlift.

Assets

Starships

See also Imperial Starship Designations   The Imperial Astral Force maintains a total fleet of 37,170 combat vessels and 438,690 support ships, and some 531,625 aerospace craft.   Spacecraft are given a name beginning with the letters "ISS", which stands for Imperial Starship, followed by a name. Naming conventions differ based on ship type. Each ship also has an alphanumeric designation based on type.  

Star Bases

The Imperial Astral Force operates 137 star bases throughout the Imperium. These primarily serve as staging grounds and maintenance fascilities, with five regional bases providing training.   Mobile forward outposts are typically used as provisional bases when pushing into new territories and are rapidly replaced with more permanent ones as the space is secured.  

Human Capital

See also Imperial Basic Training   Solarian soldiers are widely viewed as some of the most highly trained soldiers in the galaxy. The Empire invests a great amount of time, effort, and technology into ensuring their warfighters always have an unfair advantage in battle. Nowhere is that more appparent than in the Astral Force.   Enlisted starmen recieve three months of basic training followed by another four months of job-specific training. Finally, the get five months of on-the-job training before recieving their orders.

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Cover image: by H. R. Giger

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